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Difference Between MD and PhD (With Table)

MD vs PhD

The difference between MD and PhD is that MD is related with treating the patient whereas PhD is a higher doctor’s degree in other fields. MD is exclusive to be a higher degree in medicine while a PhD can be done in various other fields like science, literature and arts.

MD and PhD are both degrees in the medical field. The full form of MD is Doctor of Medicine and the full form of PhD is Doctor of Philosophy.

Also, a person holding a MD degree can prescribe medicines but this is not the case with a PhD degree holder. A PhD degree holder cannot prescribe medicines and the whole work for them is research oriented.

The time of completion of both the degrees also differ from each other. It takes about four years for a person to get a MD degree while to get a PhD it can take four to seven years depending upon when the person studying for the degree submits their thesis paper.

Both MD and PhD degree holders are referred to as ‘doctors’. Only MD degree holder are practicing medical doctors. As PhD can be done in various subjects, this degree is mainly focused on research.


 

Comparison Table Between MD and PhD (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonMDPhD
Full formDoctor of MedicineDoctor of Philosophy
Time of completion of degreeIt takes four years to get a MD degree.It can take four to seven years to get a PhD degree.
Writing prescriptionsMD degree holder can prescribe medicines to patients.PhD degree holder cannot prescribe medicines to patients.
OriginIt's origin is traceable back to the ninth century. It was first introduced in the mediaeval Arabic Universities.It's origin is traceable back in the Middle ages. It was first introduced in the European Universities.
Completion of degreeIt takes two years of course work and two years of rotational work to get MD degree.To finish the study of a PhD degree, one has to submit his thesis paper.

 

What is MD?

MD stands for ‘doctor of medicine’. The doctor of medicine comes from the Latin language which means ‘teacher of medicine’. It is a four year long degree. It includes two years of course work and another two years of rotational work in some hospital or clinic.

A MD degree formally trains a person for patient care. It takes a longer time in the completion of degree if the person is studying for becoming a physician as they go under more intensive training than others.

The main focus of this degree is to train the students and prepare them to focus on the overall diagnosis and take proper decisions about in which direction the patient care should be taken.

A MD degree holder is generally referred to as medical doctor. These medical doctors also have the option to specialize in highly skilled sub-fields, such as surgeries, for which other patient care professionals are not trained.

MD degree holders are practicing medical doctors and thus can prescribe medicines to patients. If specialised in sub-fields, they can even do surgeries according to their field of specialisation.

 

What is PhD?

PhD stands for ‘doctor of philosophy’. The doctor of philosophy comes from the Latin word philosophiÃi doctor which means ‘teacher of philosophy’. To get a PhD degree, it can take upto four to seven years as it depends on the submission of a thesis paper.

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For a person to get a PhD degree, it is compulsory for them to submit their thesis paper. After the submission of the thesis paper, it is examined by a group of experts in the field of the PhD degree. The person can also be called to elaborate or defend his work before the experts.

A person can do PhD in almost any academic field, from literature to anthropology. All the PhD holder are referred to as a doctor in that specific field which he has mastered.

The main purpose of people studying for a PhD degree is to do original research in their field. There is also a PhD degree available in the medicine field. In some medical programs, the authority offers the students a dual MD-PhD track. This is for those who are interested in becoming physician scientists.

Students who take upon this dual MD-PHD program are able to do both, writing prescriptions and practicing medicine and also doing research on a clinical or an academic setting.

There is also a possible way to get a PhD degree without studying for a MD degree. The least requirement for a student to be eligible for studying for a PhD degree is that the student must have a bachelor’s degree in the specific field you want to do PhD.


Main Differences Between MD and PhD

  • The full form of MD is Doctor of Medicine and the full form of PhD is Doctor of philosophy.
  • MD is a higher degree in the field of medicine whereas PhD is a higher degree that can be done in various fields.
  • It takes four years to complete the MD degree while it can take four to seven years to obtain a PhD degree.
  • The completion of MD degree is after two years of course work and another two years of rotational work whereas the completion of PhD degree is after the submission of a thesis paper which is then examined by experts.
  • MD degree was first introduced in the mediaeval Arabic Universities while the PhD degree was first introduced in the European Universities.

 

Conclusion

MD and PhD both are higher degrees that can be obtained after doing a bachelor’s degree. The duration of MD degree is four years and the duration of PhD degree is four to seven years.

MD degree is a higher degree in the field of medicine and PhD can be done in many different fields. MD degree holders are practicing doctors and PhD degree holders mainly do the research work in that field and cannot write prescriptions.

 

Word Cloud for Difference Between MD and PhD

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on MD and PhD. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.